It happens more frequently than one would think: the judge presiding over a family law matter either retires or in many cases is moved to another division within the court system. For many years, family practitioners have been aware of the “one family/one judge” rule and the directives set forth by the administrative office of courts; there is a time-honored tradition of having one judge preside over a family matter for as long as the matter is active.
A recent Appellate Division opinion warns alimony payors who repeatedly seek a reduction in their alimony obligation not to wear out their welcome in the courthouse. In Sowa v. Sowa, the court found an obligor’s third motion requesting a decrease in his support payments to improperly seek “reconsideration of a reconsideration” and denied the motion, awarding counsel fees to the supported spouse.
Divorcing a lawyer? A recent decision by a New Jersey appellate court explains the process by which a person’s interest in a law firm is valued for purposes of equitable distribution. In Slutsky v. Slutsky, years of matrimonial litigation and post-judgment motions culminated in a consolidated appeal which addresses, in part, the valuation of the husband’s interest as equity partner in a large, New Jersey law firm. Specifically, this decision examines the intricacies of valuing such an interest, including how courts can (and should) address the goodwill component of the divorcing lawyer’s interest.
In a growing mobile society, the issue of post-divorce relocation has gained momentum with New Jersey families. While certainly not a new legal issue, it is one that has become more prevalent as companies and employees become more transient due to evolutions of technology and politics. With these changes there has been growth in the disputes over whether a parent can relocate out of state with a child(ren) post-divorce.
Not necessarily. In the recent case Henneberry v. Henneberry, the Appellate Division addressed whether an alimony obligor’s good faith retirement was sufficient to terminate or reduce his alimony obligation to his ex-wife. Considering other factors such as the ex-husband’s assets and his lack of candor to the court, the court found that despite the fact that his retirement was made in good faith and his income would drastically decrease, the circumstances warranted maintaining his alimony at the original amount and continuing his obligation to maintain the full amount of life insurance coverage required by their settlement agreement.
Contribution to the higher education costs of children is one of the most frequently litigated issues between divorced spouses in post-judgment matrimonial matters. With skyrocketing tuition price tags, the stakes can be high (and even financially ruining) when litigating these issues if you are faced with unexpected education costs. A recent unpublished Appellate Division decision, Lichter v. Lichter, highlights that the fight is not necessarily over when your child receives a college degree. Can you be compelled to contribute to the post-graduate education expenses of your child? Maybe.
I recently read an article by The Points Guy about protecting your points before getting married. Points, most commonly acquired by credit card usage or travel, are often an overlooked asset when drafting a prenuptial agreement in anticipation of marriage or crafting a settlement agreement in anticipation of divorce.
The crossroads of law (evidence, civil procedure, jurisdiction, legal correspondence and service) and social media continue to be a hot topic for litigators. Every day courts across the country are faced with evidentiary issues regarding communications posted on social media. But how about starting a lawsuit via social media? How about submitting to jurisdiction due to your use of social media?
Where does generosity towards family members end and the legal obligation to support them begin? Who is a parent and when does voluntarily taking on that role have legal ramifications? These questions have been analyzed, but not resolved, by the New Jersey Appellate Division in the context of a child support modification application, in Williams v. McCloud.
Most practitioners that handle divorce, family law and complex custody cases know that it is axiomatic that to change, alter, or modify custody or parenting time, or to issue a parenting time sanction, the court must make findings of fact and conclusions of law. In fact, all decisions made by the court from the bench in family cases that are not considered temporary trigger that requirement.